Are Social Media Sites a Zoo of Publicity Stunts?

The internet slowly seems to be taking over the world and the public relations industry too. The number of publicity stunts appearing on social networking sites keeps growing. Facebook and Twitter are home to millions of them but they are not always noticeable to everyone.

Competitions as Advertising

You’ve all seen these competitions when they say “like this” or “share this” to win ‘blah blah blah’. We all love a competition but really we are just sharing the Facebook page to all of our Facebook Friends. We are providing companies with free advertisement for one of the thousands of people sharing to win a prize. The number of people who like the page to enter the competition is bound to make it worthwhile!

Customers Fuelling Publicity

I’m sure you’ve seen either witty comebacks from a company, or cute letters from kids, or funny comments on a social network page.

Twitter saw Argos get down with the slang of its customers with this witty response. Not only did Argos win the respect of ‘BadManBugti’ but also the thousands who re-tweeted the comeback. This could be seen as a subtle way to gain customers but who can blame Argos for making everyone laugh.

Argos turn their ‘slang on’.

Sainsbury’s won the hearts of many social network users when these pictures appeared online. Everybody loves when kids say cute things so when a 3 1/2 year old wrote to the supermarket to ask ‘why Tiger bread is not called Giraffe bread’…

Misnomer moan: Lily Robinson's letter to Sainsbury's asking why tiger bread wasn't called giraffe bread 

Sainsbury’s were smart to respond with this letter…

Understanding: This witty and friendly reply from Customer Manager Chris King won him a lot of praise

They fuelled the public’s reaction and according to the Daily Mail gained them 150,000 Facebook likes. 


Recently, a warning message has been shared around warning parents of the dangers of Talking Angela, a talking cat smartphone app. The messages warned parents that Talking Angela was a ploy to get children to talk to paedophiles but it turns out none of the rumours were true.

One of the many fake Facebook warnings about ‘Talking Angela’.

The Facebook hoax which according to has boosted the app’s downloads and popularity. Was this a publicity stunt to get more people to know about the app and download it to see if it was true?

These types of posts and tweets are appearing on social networking sites more often than ever before but are they publicity stunts? Or are they just coincidently boosting business?


2 thoughts on “Are Social Media Sites a Zoo of Publicity Stunts?

  1. Hi,
    I really enjoyed reading your post. It was really interesting (that’s why I reblogged it as well).
    Also, Southampton Solent University’s PR degrees will manage an eBook in a day project on Wednesday (26 March) and all the PR bloggers (students) all over the UK can participate. You definitely should 🙂 It is going to be a sort of competition between PR students.
    Here is my blog post about it if you want:


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